Tag: Wigan Athletic

The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Previews: Wigan Athletic

They escaped by the skin of their teeth last season, but for Wigan Athletic there has been little to get excited about this summer and there remains the distinct possibility of another long, hard winter ahead for a club that has, over the last few seasons, battled against all odds to keep hold of this most unexpected of Premier League places. This is a club that has become dependent upon Premier League television money and the continuing goodwill of its chief benefactor – in this case, Dave Whelan – to the extent that we might ask what, exactly, the plan is for a scenario in which the club were to get relegated from the Premier League. It’s a question that is worth asking, of course. Wigan had looked dead and buried last season, until Roberto Martinez managed to rally his team to losing just two of their last nine matches, hauling themselves over the safety line with a win on the last day of the season at Stoke City, thanks to a goal twelve minutes from time from Hugo Rodallega. It was a narrow escape, of that there can be very little doubt, and the good news for Wigan supporters is that the club has at least managed to retain the services of Martinez for the start of the new season, in spite of rumours linking him with other,...

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Those We Have Lost: Springfield Park, Wigan Athletic

Today’s instalment in the Those We Have Lost series is on the subject of a ground that seems like it existed a million years ago. We are indebted to Martin Tarbuck for this – Martin is the author of two books about Wigan Athletic and editor of the Mudhutter, a Wigan Athletic fanzine. He is also a contributor to This Northern Soul website, which is a collaboration of several existing Wigan Athletic websites including The Mudhutter’s online presence. It is with considerable shame that I come to admit the manner in which I first gained entry to Springfield Park. You see, immediately behind the Town End there was a run down all weather pitch which used to serve as a place for the Junior Latics to play five a side on in the early Eighties before the game. The only problem with this was that by the time myself and all the other young urchins had scaled the perimeter fence, it was often closer to ten a side. It only happened for a year or two to be fair after which I got a season ticket. I was taken to one of my first legitimate games by a friend of the family who used to play for Wigan and as we sat high up in the Main Stand, I realised where the real fun was to be had as...

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How Literal Will The Premier League’s Survival Sunday Be?

In an August 2009 Radio 5 Live programme on the Premier League’s financial troubles, Supporters Direct Chief Executive Dave Boyle addressed the issue of the “chasm” between Premier League and Football League finances. “Once upon a time,” he said to a gathering of football people including the then-Birmingham chairman David Gold, who wasn’t ‘sitting comfortably’, “relegation meant you’d not had a good season. Now it seems to be this existential ‘it’s the end of the club, it’s the end of the world as we know it.’” Boyle’s theory was tested to an extent by that season’s relegation of Hull City and Portsmouth. But it was difficult to gauge how much of Hull’s traumas were down to the gap between the leagues, or the gap between owner Russell Bartlett’s financial strategies and sanity. And Portsmouth, of course, was a test of a different set of theories entirely, largely connected with the wisdom of allowing convicted Russian/Israeli gun-runners to try out a Premier League club’s bank account for size. Allegedly. Some of this season’s bottom six might put Boyle’s theory to a more pertinent test. The bottom six has mostly been the three ‘Bs’ – Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool – nestling uncomfortably on top of the three ‘Ws’ – West Ham United, Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers (the five ‘Ws’, if you have a certain view of the Hammers’...

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Celebrating Football’s Greatest Chairman

With the recent protests against the government so far peaking with half a million protestors marching with the TUC to Hyde Park last Saturday, we have decided here at twohundredpercent that we will spend April looking at some of the figures within football who have sought to smash the system over the years. Later in the month Gavin will express his admiration for Trade Union Shop Steward turned Premiership manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Ian will profile the iconic commentator Alan Green. First of all, Rob Freeman will sing the praises of the one chairman to challenge the establishment more than any other, in some respects the anarchist’s chairman – Ken Bates. Kenneth William Bates was born in West London, and celebrates his eightieth birthday later in the year. Ealing-raised in the humble surroundings of a council flat, Bates grew up as a supporter of his local club – Queens Park Rangers – and like most young fans harboured hopes of playing the game full time, but as with the majority of youngsters in love with the game, a playing career never materialised. Not to be put off from entering the ranks of football through the playing side, Bates set his sights on entering the game another way – through the boardroom. Bates’ earliest years as director and chairmen in the 1970s at Oldham Athletic and Wigan Athletic were...

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Match Of The Week: Wigan Athletic 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

During their season in the third tier during the late 1990s, Manchester City supporters had a song that summed up their feeling of disbelief at the turn for the worse that their club’s fortunes had taken: “We’re Not Really Here”. This lunchtime, Wigan Athletic have taken this to its logical conclusion by being not actually there. There are gaping holes in the crowd for this lunchtime kick-off, most likely on account of the Rugby League Challenge Cup final being played today. To this extent, the town of Wigan remains, in sporting terms, conflicted. Yet this is an important match, in its own way. The nature of the league programme means that there is a tendency for the points accumulated at the end of the season to be treated as more important than those won earlier on in the season but, of course, they’re not. If either of these two clubs wants seriously bolster its chances of avoiding the relegation trapdoor, picking up points from matches like this is not far from essential. Take a moment, if you will, to consider the amount of preparation that a professional football club puts into its match on a Saturday afternoon – the training, the tactical preparation, the logistical side of matters and the travelling supporters, who give up the majority of their Saturday afternoons (and, let us not forget, a reasonably voluminous...

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